| Fort Collins Coloradoan
Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is running for a second term as Colorado’s junior senator against Democrat John Hickenlooper. Here are his answers to questions shared by the Coloradoan.
What will be your top priorities if you’re reelected, and how will you work to accomplish them if Congress continues to be politically divided?
We’re experiencing an economic crisis as a result of the coronavirus; a crisis which calls for solutions. As the third-most bipartisan member of the Senate and the most effective member of Colorado’s congressional delegation, I know how to navigate a politically divided Congress to secure pandemic relief. Keeping people safe and getting Americans back to work must be our No. 1 priority.
Prior to COVID-19, Colorado’s economy saw record job growth, wage increases, its lowest unemployment rate in history, and an outdoor recreation economy that employed 229,000 workers and added $11 billion to the economy annually. Working together, we can return to that economic climate and ensure that every Coloradan is safe and healthy.
Colorado’s electorate has shifted since you were elected to the Senate in 2014, with the state opting for Democratic candidates in most statewide races since 2016. Meanwhile, critics argue that your votes and stances on issues such as the Affordable Care Act, President Trump’s impeachment, and the prospective Supreme Court confirmation hearing in advance of the election have not aligned with the majority views of your constituents. How do the views of Colorado’s electorate factor into your decision-making at the Congressional level, and what do you say to those who don’t think your actions represent the majority of your constituents?
I vote with Colorado 100% of the time, and, as the third-most bipartisan member of the Senate, I know how important it is to work with those whom we may disagree. Colorado needs senators who are willing to find commonsense solutions to our most pressing issues. In the six years that I’ve served in the Senate, I’ve always prioritized people over politics.
As I continue to work to improve the lives of Coloradans, I’ll continue to work with those whom I disagree with by finding common ground, working hard, and delivering real results for those whom I’ve sworn to serve. Unsurprisingly, Coloradans will always have differences of opinion. Given how diverse Colorado is, such differences are expected to arise. I’ve worked hard to seek solutions for problems facing all Coloradans, including employment, education, and health care.
I’ll continue to serve Coloradans faithfully, regardless of whether or not they voted for me.
By the start of your prospective second term, it is likely that Colorado will still be struggling with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. What will you do to provide swift relief to Coloradans facing continued unemployment/underemployment, threat of eviction/foreclosure and loss of livelihood due to the pandemic?
First and foremost, we need to make sure that we’re helping individuals who are in need. We need to provide relief for those who are worried about how they’re going to meet their rent and mortgage payments; we need to make sure that they’re going to be OK. Secondly, we need to support our businesses and make sure that they’re able to keep people employed and keep their doors open. It’s important that our economy can snap back to its full strength and grow even stronger than ever once the health pandemic is over.
As of mid-August, about 75% of the American public disapproves of the way Congress does its job. What will you do to restore trust in government and show that Congress can work efficiently for Americans?
For decades, the status-quo of politics has been characterized by partisanship and gridlock. But the people of Colorado didn’t elect me to play politics; they elected me because I’m a fighter. Since Day 1, I have worked across the aisle to not only be bipartisan, but effective.
Whether it was working with Gov. (Jared) Polis to ensure masks, tests, and federal resources were available to combat the coronavirus, or bringing Republicans and Democrats in Washington together to pass my Great American Outdoors Act and ensure our public lands and National Parks are protected for generations to come, I have proven that this is not the way things need to be.
The best way to restore Coloradans’ trust in their government is to continue to work hard on their behalf. I will continue to build on the accomplishments of the past in order to help restore trust in the future.
Colorado faced another brutal fire season this year, with overgrown forests and extreme weather fueling historic wildfires throughout the state. The worsening impacts of climate change will continue to contribute to this problem. What will you do to address the effects of wildfires and climate change in our state?
I’ve been committed to addressing the effects of wildfires and climate change throughout my time in the Senate. My Great American Outdoors Act was recently heralded by a senior director at the National Resources Defense Council for delivering “natural climate solutions.” During my time in the Senate, I’ve passed meaningful scientific research and development legislation and increased the budget for the National Renewable Energy Lab by nearly 50 percent, allowing the Golden-based laboratory to continue studying climate change.
Additionally, I helped increase funding for the Department of Energy’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, Office of Science, and ARPA-E in the face of proposed budget cuts. I also secured a long-term fire funding fix to end fire borrowing and further promote federal assistance in fire fighting. Moving forward, I will continue to support climate change research and oppose efforts to strip funding for research into emissions reductions and renewable energy.